Iowa Supreme Court hears oral arguments for 2018 abortion-ban ruling

(ABC 6 News) – An Iowa court battle years in the making continues Tuesday, as the Iowa Supreme Court heard the Planned Parenthood v. IA Gov. Kim Reynolds.

This debate stemming back to a 2018 abortion-ban law that Gov. Reynolds is hoping to reverse.

That law is known as the “fetal heartbeat” bill that bans abortions six weeks after conception.

“The detection of the heartbeat happens at the ultrasound, so that is really where the basis of the heartbeat bill originates. That medical fact that the heartbeat can be detected at that stage,” explained Kristi Judkins, the executive director of Iowa Right to Life.

In 2019, the law was deemed unconstitutional by an Iowa district court.

“We think this is a dangerous, cruel and unconstitutional law,” said Mark Stringer, the executive director of the Iowa division of the American Civil Liberties Union. “It was dangerous, cruel and unconstitutional when it was passed, and its dangerous, cruel and unconstitutional today.”

Last summer, Gov. Reynolds attempted to revive that law after the federal overturn of Roe v. Wade, but in December, district courts once again ruled against it.

“Then she appealed, so that is what brought us to the Iowa Supreme Court today for oral arguments where we presented our side of the argument as did the state,” explained Stringer.

The arguments Tuesday, however, were not about whether someone has the right to choose or the right to life, it was about legislation.

“It is a law on the books right now, we just can’t enforce it because of the judicial process. Our hope is that the ruling would give us the outcome to be able to enforce the heartbeat law in the state of Iowa,” added Judkins.

“This is an old law and you can’t just go back and revive old law. Particularly, when that law was deemed unconstitutional when it was passed. We also argued that the law itself is void because it was in violation of the Iowa constitution when it was passed,” said Stringer.

Now, both parties as well as Gov. Reynolds must wait for the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision.

This is not expected until June, they say.